Adult ADHD and Loneliness

Simple Observation: Adult ADHDers usually have no friends. I have not done any study on this phenomenon nor have I consulted the Google Oracle for wisdom. I base this observation purely on anecdotes, on conversations I’ve had with numerous adult ADHDers who have told me that for most of their life they had no friends. That is, they had (and often still have) no one who understood them, to whom they could open up, with whom they could “let their hair down” (metaphorically, of course). I hope that those who have been diagnosed at a young age and are fully aware of their ADHDness can somehow avoid the loneliness experienced by some late-diagnosed ADHDers.

[CLICK HERE for Part II of ADHD and Loneliness]


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  • Anonymous

    Wow! And I thought it was just me. Thanks for this simple observation that’s right on target.

    Maybe we cannot connect to people because we’re always obsessed with something different, hopping from subject to subject, getting a broad but shallow set of interests. So we have more in common with Wikipedia than the average person.

    Being a guy that hates sports really narrows the male friendship pool, and of course since other men get jealous of my charming ADHD outbursts they don’t want me hangin’ with their ladies (grin).

    And I don’t know about you Jeff, but a lot of people bore the sh%t out of me, so I avoid most of humanity as if they are infected with gonacockus or something.

    I’m interested to hear what others say. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “hates sports” – check!
      “lots of different interests” – check!
      “charming ADHD outbursts” – check!
      “a lot of people bore the sh%t out of me” – check!

      I think you hit the important points. Perhaps *we* should be friends. ;)

      • naeldred

        Sounds good. Friends it is. Besides, I like your politics.

        I read Driven to Distraction after I was first diagnosed–I know, it’s a mental masturbation right of passage when you get the news–and Ned “I got ADHD for Christmas” Hallowell (sp?) warned that people with ADHD tend to isolate themselves. But maybe he missed the causality boat.

        Hard to believe being Ned and all, but possible.

        If people with ADHD have, let’s be kind, fewer friends over life, are they isolating themselves, or are they isolated because they fail to find meaningful relationships, for whatever reason? I mean, I have no recollection of saying “I don’t want any friends.” (But then again, I have no recollection of saying “I do” at my wedding, so that proves nothing.) 

        And it’s not like we have hygiene problems and mucus puddled on our upper lips with piss stains running down our pants…on most days.

        Sigh. Adderall is wearing off.

        I think I’ll go funnel a pot of coffee down my gullet.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          “are they isolating themselves, or are they isolated because they fail to find meaningful relationships” – I would lean towards “isolating themselves” and add that they have difficulty forming meaningful relationships and, if they should find meaningful relationships, they screw them up. That’s why ADHDers have high divorce rates. All part of “the gift.”

          • Rz

            Self-isolation is easy to assume and can feel more empowering to a person than say- being rejected. I have pushed away, ostracized and down right rejected my nire life.

            • Rz

              Correction: I have been pushed away, ostracized and down right rejected my entire life.

  • Jumpeight

    I posted on FB, but had to come here to see what was up. Your posts are always so bloody thought-provoking…you had one up quite a while ago regarding “choices-fear of time” that I am still struggling with.
    I am a late diagnosed ADHD, but honestly can’t say that any of my friends, my family, myself-with ADHD could be described this way, in fact, just the opposite. So I guess my anecdotal evidence is the traits I often confer-optimism, enthusiasm, energy, live in the moment, easy to forgive, many varied interests, spontaneous…are ones that draw people to the ADHDer.
     I am blessed with many friends-I would have perished otherwise, as is my daughter, sister and my friends with ADHD. I have deep friendships that I can share nearly anything with (and do, often) and friends with whom I share similar things-be it sports, politics, geek stuff, women stuff, neighbors, social friends…whatever. I do find that women have an easier time with friends, are able to express their feelings easier and have more of them than most men I have met. I know, you say, a gross generalization. Perhaps not. I followed a brilliant lecturer and writer -Douglas Heath-from Haverford College for a number of years. He wrote a book “Fulfilling Lives” and lectured at a number of schools in my area (Boston). He followed a graduating class from Haverford for approx 25 years interviewing them yearly-their wives/lovers/children/parents/people who worked for them/people who they worked for etc etc. The last time I saw him lecture, he had begun his studies to include women as well (Haverford was male only when he did his work). He was quite humorous-but one rather funny but right on the mark comment was about womens’ groups-and how they functioned and supported one another, and the ability to deal with deep issues and their ability to express their feelings. At that point he remarked that he had as yet to see a men’s group survive with those components as their basis. He figured that after the men had talked about sports and business they were left with nothing left to say and disbanded. That women innately have an easier time with open and intimate conversation and less difficulty revealing themselves. Take it or leave it. In my youth as a passionate feminist, I insisted men and women were totally alike-only society conferred difference to keep women enslaved (god the 60′s were greatt!) But we are different and perhaps that’s what we’re talking about here??

    Ok enough from me-maybe it’s a guy thing? and if you don’t like sports (now that’s a pity-damn-sports are the center of the universe-at least in Boston ;-) then what business? 

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I’ll first state the obvious: not all ADHDers are alike. We have different life circumstances. Some ADHDers may be into sports and some not; Some may have a few (or more) really good friends and some not. And, yes, women are more likely to have deeper relationships with friends than men. Keeping all that in mind, my anecdotal data is based on talking to men AND women, so having trouble with friendships is not simply a guy thing. I would wager it has more to do with the particular mix of personality characteristics and interests along with the type of ADHD.

      “I insisted men and women were totally alike-only society conferred difference to keep women enslaved” – There are very real physiological differences between men and women (besides the obvious difference in reproduction capability). That’s becoming more and more obvious as we learn more about how the body works. So perhaps it’s not that men and women are the same and society “creates” a difference so men can dominate women. Perhaps it’s that there is *already* a difference which is exploited by men to their advantage.

      • Jumpeight

        The bit about women was simply laughing at myself for some extremism 50 yrs ago with the beginnings of feminism. hardly think there is any truth to it! 
        we both simply have different life experiences. probably nothing to do with or without ADHD. the ole “correlation is not causation” applies here. your sample is simply different from my sample.  and grateful that I don’t fall into yours. 

  • Gina Pera

    You got friends, Jeff, even if you can’t let your hair down. ;-)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Thank you, Gina! And my observation did not necessarily include myself.

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        I should add that our sociological definition of “friendship” has been shifting over the years along with such definitions of “community,” “solidarity,” etc. I had this argument with a professor almost 20 years ago in grad school. I argued that these things are changing as a result of technology. However, looking back on this, I would also add that there is an interpersonal interaction — face-to-face — that cannot be replicated digitally and *that* is the factor that is missing. Best example is the contrast between watching a high-def music concert and actually being at the concert. The former can never reproduce the full visceral nature of the latter.

        • Sunburst1970

          What a crazy coincedence I foind this blog today. I’m sitting alone in my room pissed off @ my boyfriend because he’s too busy watching a foolball game to notice I’ve fallen into a well of depression today. By the way, I not only HATE football, I really hate the way people are so “different” when a game is on. I could go on about that one for about 50 pages, so I’ll just leave it @ that.

          I wasa diagnosed with ADD as a child, but my parent wouldn’t let me take any kind of medication for it. Now @ 41 have been on Adderall for the past few years and after the 1st month I felt cheated that had I had it sooner, how much differnt my life may have been. But since I can’t change the past, I try to focus on moving forward.

          Anyway, I’ve always had plenty of friendly aqauainances, but few people that truly earned my trust. Sadly, I’m usually a better friend to others then I get to enjoy for my own needs. I’ve found that people are either somewhat boring or shallow, or they swing too far the other way and bring unwanted drama. I have about as much patience for drama as I do for football.

          Another thing that drives me crazy is when people want to know what I think, but only if it’s the same as them . Or after the 4th or 5th thought they just have no idea how to respond to me and can’t keep up with the constant stream of information that flows through my head. And the emotional responses from this information creates all kinds or wierd chain reactions from people. Some time I can’t get people to understand that it’s JUST information/observations. It has nothing to do with THEM! People get offened it “too dark or cinical” for them. If they interpret something I say as “arousing” that doesn’t mean I’m hitting on them. And regaurless of what I may think or feel about anything or anyone, I can agree or disagree, like or dislike whatever, I still want people to interact with me in a respectful and conciderate way. I told a friend one time who accused me of wasting his time because I sent him a txt while he was working (as if I knew) that he was busy, he could have ignored it or simply chose NOT to care. Some nerve I had to send him a joke that took him 30 seconds to read.

          So I guess you could say I do isolate myself. I’d rather be alone then be in the company of insensitive idiots! I used to have a lot more friends then I do now, and it does bother me. Mostly because I deserve better then what I’ve found. Unfortunatly, I live in an area where a lot of the peolpe here are really screwed up. I try to keep an open mind, but I’m too cerebrial & too much of a realist for my own good sometimes.

          Oh well. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe I’ll get lucky…….

          • Jeffs ADD Mind

            Welcome to the blog. The more you read here the more you’ll realize that my views have evolved over time. I certainly understand what it’s like when people say you are being cynical or too dark. That’s what people say about this blog.

            “since I can’t change the past, I try to focus on moving forward” – This is absolutely key to your mental survival. Sure, I have my days when I wish I could go back in time and punch someone in the nose (like the various doctors who never picked up on my ADHD) but, the past is the past. You’re correct…you can’t change it. However, you CAN change the future. That’s in your control. Things can improve one little step at a time. All you need do is be realistic about what you can accomplish and how long it will take to accomplish it.

      • Gina Pera

        Yeah, well, I take any and every opportunity to make a crack about your hair.

  • Lance

    This is an absolutely stunning post!  It sums me up perfectly.  I can’t stand sports of any kind, I think largely because they’re so slow, or at least too slow for me. ;-)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “absolutely stunning post!” – Stunning and yet, such a short post. I wonder how I did that. ;)

      “It sums me up perfectly. “  – I wish it didn’t sum things up so well. I’d rather I be wrong.

  • Mary Beth

    If this fact wasn’t so sad it would be funny. I also am late diagnosed ADHD in my early 50′s. I’m now in my early 60′s and knowing that my weird personality traits are from some crappy hard-wiring in my brain, doesn’t make the lack of long-term friends any easier. My husband just can’t understand why not having friends is such a problem for me. I see co-workers getting together with people that they’ve known for years and I’m so discouraged… my life seems empty and devoid of any possibility of deep friendships. I think my main problem is procrastination since I hardly ever follow up on other peoples interest of developing friendships.

    Good subject and something to think about when I’m feeling lonely.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      On the positive side, you still have your husband.

      I wish I had something more profound to say. I can definitely feel your pain.

    • Loisen

      Mary Beth, Your story is very close to mine. I am a few years younger. I learned I have ADHD in my early fifties. My wife has friends, not me. I’ve known this thing for only a couple years and I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. Bad as it is to have the ADHD and no friends, it does help a little bit to see it’s part of the ADHD and it’s not my fault. Actually I have one friend. it’s a little strange, but the good news s my kids are doing better. All three of them have more friends that I can count on one hand.

      So, keep up the good spirits and enjoy what you can in life. Remember who you are.

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        I don’t want to generalize but it seems that some ADHD kids are better able to do the things that we may have had trouble with when we were younger. There has certainly been an increased awareness of ADHD itself, compared to when we were young, though there’s still a lot more to go in terms of the “awareness” department.

        Speaking of awareness…you may find this website to be of interest:

  • Margit Crane

    Equally unscientific are the following observations! I was diagnosed at 23 and had lots of social challenges. I went to therapy to deal with those and now have many, many friends. It took about 10 years to feel comfortable. I think, also, when the diagnosis comes, there is elation but there is also a period of getting used to the idea and grieving for what could have been. I say Honor That – give yourself the time to heal and definitely take the time to learn new skills – medication doesn’t teach skills.

    Margit Crane,
    Gifted With ADD

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “medication doesn’t teach skills.” – This should be part of the warning label on all ADHD medications! Your point, though, is similar to one raised by Zoe Kessler (via Twitter), namely that you have to cultivate the “how to have/maintain friends” skills, to which I replied, “That’s correct…but that puts another item on the ADHDers to-do list.”

    • Robin

      You won’t learn new skills without medication, lady.
      Stick a sock in when you start spewing about what “isn’t scientific’ when you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Any search on Google Scholar will turn up dozens of peer-reviewed studies validating Jeff’s very accurate statement.

      • Gforce27

        Well, here I am jumping into a 2 year old spat, but hey–what’s with the hostility? I’ve learned “plenty” of new social skills un-medicated. When I was 22, before I even knew I had ADHD, my best friend confronted me about my terrible listening skills. She told me that I always turned the conversation back to myself, and it was really getting to her. I hadn’t been aware that I did that, until she pointed it out. I loved my friend, and I didn’t want to lose her friendship. After that, I worked very hard on listening to people and reflecting back to them. I tried to check my urge to interject about myself, or interrupt. Well, it worked. No one ever complained of that to me again–now, I still get plenty of complaints about “interrupting,” but not about turning the conversation around to make it about me.

        My friend did me an incredible favor all those years ago.
        You can “learn” without medication. ADHD people can be very sensitive, empathetic friends. We can use self awareness and mindfulness to minimize the impact our ADHD has on friends, and you can learn to take responsibility when things go awry.

        Just my two cents.

  • Pingback: Am I done discovering? « Addled

  • Paul Alpert

    Some of my best friends are dogs and cats … but they’re not on Facebook!

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      That’s actually an interesting observation. I’d be curious to know if the percentage of ADHDers who are “pet people” is a greater percentage than in the general population…or something like that.

      • Augie Weiss

        I think dog people mostly. We like the unconditional love even when we forget to feed them. Cats are aloof and may remind us too much of ourselves. Nah. I like them all. dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, horses, llamas whatever. Mostly dogs cause they are so ADD. 

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          I had cats growing up (and one dog). Now I have two dogs…among other pets…but no cat. Don’t miss having a cat at all. They have attitude problems. ;)

      • John

        Sadly, I find this to be true of myself. Pets, and kids are who I relate with best. Diagnosed late in life, even having developed coping mechanisms long before knowing why I was the way I was, I still struggle daily just most everyone who has ADD/ADHD.

        Some days it feels so lonely, like being isolated on my own little island, despite the need/desire for it t be different.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          Pets and kids…non-judgmental…so no surprise there.

          To some degree this is all a cruel joke…kinda like being a boy in a plastic bubble. You want to be touched by another human being but that darned plastic bubble is in the way.

  • Katy R.

    I certainly have a lot of acquaintances, as a biproduct of “what I do” but my actual friends, humorously, tend to be other adults who I would bet MONEY also have ADHD. Some of them are officially diagnosed even. Some of us take meds, some don’t. I don’t waste my time trying to deal deeply with “normal” people. I mean what the fuck would we have to discuss? I already spent most of my childhood having “normal” people comment frequently that I was “weird”. Then I spent my younger young adulthood with a bunch of insecure, pretentious drunks…and I’m not very productive when I drink so t’hell with that. Been there, done that, I’d rather hang with the other mostly sober weirdos…who incidentally tend to be the people in my community doing interesting things. Starting new projects, scheming, plotting, not giving a shit what the boring people think.

    I’m making it sound glamorous though…honestly I just don’t have that many people that I’m truly comfortable around, and I’m more of an introvert that most people who know me even realize. So I’m selective because frankly, other people give me anxiety. If my selectivity means I’m isolating myself then to that I say “ohhhh…THAT’S what you call that” and move on :)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Over the years I’ve had numerous friendships that fizzled out but, for the most part, those were business related. I also have some friendships that have grown enormously over the years.

      If it makes any sense at all to say this, I’m some sort of introverted extrovert. For some reason, in some way, there’s a logic to it that seems right.

      • Katy R.

        I have told people many times that I am an introvert disguised as an extrovert. The disguise is so good that they often look at me funny when I say it and sometimes say things like “but you’re so outgoing” or “but you’re so friendly” to which I say “you’re right, I am”. Then I move to the cheese table and start stacking some crackers and cheese up high so when people try to talk to me it’s more awkward because my mouth is full.

  • Mike Carr

    There’s at least four reasons why people with ADHD are likely to have few friends:

    Some people with ADHD are incredible annoying, especially classic hyperactive ADDers with drinking problems.

    Some people with ADHD are shy or simply don’t like people much. 

    Many people with ADHD have wanderlust, are unemployed, or have unstable work histories – all these tend to make it harder to make and keep friends, especially if you’re slack about keeping up with people you longer see regularly.

    Many people with ADHD are misfits, eg, they are under or over educated for the field of work they work in, so don’t tend to socialise with people similar to themselves.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      You’ve definitely covered the basic parameters. It’s as if everything they do tends to conspire against them.

      • Rz

        And what do you expect a person to do to actually change this instead of pointing out their “dysfunction” and telling them about a lifetime of prescription drug dependency. Honestly, before getting my ADHD I was not as depressed as I have been. Being in my 20s, I feel like a failure and there are few people who can help or places I can go.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          “what do you expect a person to do to actually change this” – I wish I was at least six feet tall but, quite frankly, there’s nothing I can do about it. The same applies to this particular “dysfunction.” There’s nothing to “change,” so it is more important to accept things as they are. Over time you might be able to improve things, to overcome, to a degree, your dysfunction. But the most important thing to realize is that it will never completely go away. Using the height analogy, I don’t dwell on my height. (BTW, I’m 5′ 8″) I can adjust chairs, seats, steering wheels, and so forth, to accommodate my height. The same applies to this “dysfunction.”

          I realize that it is easy for me to simply say “accept your dysfunction.” For years I fought against it (see this link: ). But I can tell you from experience and the experience of many others, that the sooner you accept your diagnosis, and the sooner you work at ameliorating the effects of ADHD, the better you will feel.

          You might find these two posts to be of interest: and

  • Georgina

    [sorry for my less-than-perfect English, I'm not a native speaker] 
    Well I’m pretty new to the world of ADHDers, and I’m grateful to have found this blog! I wanted to add another factor that might contribute to our friendless situation… In my case I’m 23, I’m a professional in wandering round careers at college, and thus I don’t keep a single friend (nor acquaintance) from those places. Everytime I start something new -currently studying English teaching… hopefully I’ll get something out of that- I think “goodness will I be able to make some friends this time?” but nothing new happens.
    I used to think I had missed some sort of important life lesson during childhood in which someone would explain how to make friends!
    Honestly, I have one person I can call friend and I see her once a year or less (an ADHDer and a Med Student are not the best combination :| ). Still… that can vanish too.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Georgina, welcome to the blog. Feel free to go through the archives. I’ve written about a lot of issues over four and one half years so there’s lots of stuff here and don’t hesitate to leave comment no matter how old a particular post may be.

      You’re correct that switching from one career to another makes it difficult to create long lasting friendships. I made many friends as I moved from job to job. Thosse friendships disappeared as the job itself disappeared. However, I will say that I have a few friendships that have lasted 30 years and some “newer” ones that are about 10 years and still going strong. The common factor is that these friendships have a basis that is separate from any particular job. What keeps the friendship alive is a mutual interest in non-job related things. So if you have outside interests and make friends through those interests, well, those friendships may end up being the ones that really last.

      “I used to think I had missed some sort of important life lesson during
      childhood in which someone would explain how to make friends” – It definitely feels that way, as if everyone else was given a copy of the instructions and they didn’t give you a copy. But I can tell you that thinks definitely improve over time…as long as you keep working at it.

  • Lolly


    Funny, I did actually get ADHD for Christmas because I was diagnosed on December 22! Nice one… Well, I’m still in the process of figuring things out -the major shock has passed, so I guess I’m ok. I have no money for therapy and absolutely hate drugs for no reason at all.

    About loneliness… I’m a people’s person. Well, not all people’s, I do have my quirks. Lots of them, actually! But I like having friends. Call me in the middle of he night (yep, I’m usually awake!) and tell me “be there in 10 minutes”, and 99% of the time, I’ll say hell yeah! I’m usually fun in my own twisted way, which not everyone seems to appreciate, and I hate nagging which apparently is what others like to do with most of their lives. So, If I’m such a blast to be around, why don’t I have any friends?

    Well… I forget to call, for one! There actually are people out there who seem to like me, but calling them twice a year doesn’t seem to cut it. However, I’m always up my neck with new “projects”, trying to change the world and all. Then, there’s this…thing. I’ve learned to somehow accept myself for what it is, but I still feel awkward in public. Especially after the diagnosis. I fear that I’ll do or say something and spoil the fun. And, finally…drumroll… I do or say something that spoils the fun! Or make people really really awkward! Others are not really happy to accept that I am the way I am, that I say what I think without filtering, that I jump up and down to calm my nerves and…well, you know how it goes!

    Pardon my keyboard-diarrhea, I got a bit too excited! It’s the first website that I could actually bother to read! Not boring at all! Keep it up! :)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I have a crazy, busy day today so I’ll reserve my right to offer a longer comment at a later time. (Heck. It’s my blog and I can do what I wanna do. hahaha).

      You may like this post:

      And you’ll definitely get a chuckle out of some of my videos.

      • Lolly

        Haha! Ok, I’ll grant you that right, but only because I’m a nice person!

        By the way, I would add another “gift” to your list: The gift of feeling embarrassed and ashamed for something that isn’t really your fault. Heck, I’m too ashamed to tell my parents and I don’t think I ever will!

        Anyway, off to read some more while I should be doing other stuff! :)

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “There actually are people out there who seem to like me, but calling them twice a year doesn’t seem to cut it.” – I have several friends that I’ve known for almost 30 years and that’s the nature of our friendship, in that we speak to each other one or twice a year and maybe see each other once or twice a year. That’s not necessarily an ADHD thing, that is, long gaps in time between speaking/seeing them, but it is definitely exacerbated by our “gift.”

      • Lolly

        I have a couple of friendships that work like that and it’s fine. But the real problem is making new friends. After spending my entire childhood alone, I only started actually making friends when I was 20. That is 6 years ago. I still have trouble grasping what others expect of me, and they still have trouble believing that I do care even if I never call. That’s my point. People who know me will understand, but others may not even bother to.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          “I still have trouble grasping what others expect of me, and they still
          have trouble believing that I do care even if I never call.” – One way to handle it is to sort of joke about it. I’ve said things like, “You see that my head is shaved? That’s because I’m a bit like a billiard ball. I head in one direction and then, ping, I hit a bumper and I’m off in another direction. So please, if it seems that I dropped off the face of the earth it’s because of my tendency to bounce around like a billiard ball, shifting directions on a periodic basis.” Hmmmm…sounded more profound in my head. And then it only works if you shave your head. (hehehe) But there is a point here. Make a joke about yourself and this tendency you may have to disappear. “Oh…I’m a 10 yr old in a 26 yr old body…I only “pretend” to be an adult…” … something like that.

          • Lolly

            Wow, that last line bit me hard! I do feel like a 10-year-old ever so often, and I can’t really decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing! I guess it just is…I’ll grow up at my own pace.

            Thanks for the valuable insight. Your website is officially on my favorites bar, as the Internet is my only real option for help at the moment, And it all feels so damn confusing and overwhelming! Oh well… baby steps… :)

            • Jeffs ADD Mind

              I truly apologize for any pain caused by that last line. That was not my intention. However, from reading this blog, you can see that I do not like to runaway from the truth…even when it’s ugly.

              You’ll want to check out my latest post. Relevant to this issue of friendship.


              • Lolly

                No worries! That’s exactly why I like your blog. Most ADHD-related websites keep sugar-coating the bitter pill telling us that it’s a gift and that we have to unwrap our hidden potential, giving all sorts of nonsensical how-tos.

                Maybe confronting all those hurtful feelings and experiences is the actual hot-to. Yes, I sometimes act like a ten-year-old, but at least I’m making a sincere effort to figure things out. Or something like that.

            • jay

              re:”Oh…I’m a 10 yr old in a 26 yr old body…I only “pretend” to be an adult…” … something like that.
              i saw this and it screamed out at me.

              i have to jump in because in the past 2 weeks of searching for answers this the first time ive seen the age of 6 i was so out of control my teacher would tie me to a chair in front of the class to restrain the 4th grade they were putting my desk outside of the class daily so i wouldn’t be a disruption to the 8th grade i finally gave up on school and treated it like i was being babysat every day. from the age of 12 to 18 years old my parents sent me to 12 different psychologist,none of them helped, all they wanted to do was talk and talk and talk,no one has ever addressed my behavioral and lack of learning ability. in school i was passed on from grade to grade and now im proud to say i have an 8th education. 18 years ago i was diagnosed with bi-polar and put on social security. every month i would tell my doc the  symptoms i was having and she would adjust my meds accordingly(i’ve had over 300 med changes in 18 years).so the next month would come around and my symptoms wouldn’t change so then she would treat me for depression and the cycle went this way for the last 18 years. about 6 months ago we started talking about adult adhd.2 weeks ago she prescribed adderall xr and i have had a huge awakening since you i’ve never matured past the age of 14.ive been in this auto pilot mood. some how assimilating from situation to situation. i’ve always felt like i was standing in front of a door,but didn’t know how to open it.finally im at a place where i want to grow up i want learn, i want help… i have read a lot of different blogs saying how creative and gifted adhder are. REALLY? i can’t draw stick figures,i cant hardly put 2 sentences together, and i cant write music,in other words i dont have a creative bone in my body…GIFTED? in what? i have not found any special gifts or talents in my 51 years. but by reading these blogs i have found that i have o.d.d,that most of my friendships in my life have all been shallow. i also found i don’t have any sense of empathy for others,i have always been so stuck in my head i never learned is sooooo lonely…my wife tries to understand. im joining chadd and looking for a group near me( so. cal).
              im desperate to find anybody like me, any information for the next step of my journey.
              thanks for reading,hope i didn’t bore you.

              • Jeffs ADD Mind

                CHADD will definitely be able to point you in the right direction. And you may find that after a few years in your newly awakened state – thanks to Adderal – that many things you couldn’t do are, suddenly, doable.

                Your late diagnosis is, unfortunately, not surprising. I’m a few years older than you and was not diagnosed until age 46. Many of those of our generation (born in the 1950′s/1960s) were never diagnosed or diagnosed late in life. (On this subject, you may find this of interest. See: )

                And…welcome to my blog. Feel free to comment on anything you find here.

                • Jay

                  please tell me you didn’t just say that i may need to wait a few years to find success..every day it seems that my mind is clearer and im starting to focus more.
                  all of a sudden i’ve realized that i have always gone against the grain in every aspect of my life, but all of a sudden it feels ok..hmmm

                  • Jeffs ADD Mind

                    I’m going to respond with a new message thread at the top of this post.

  • Jeffs ADD Mind

    Jay, you wrote: “please tell me you didn’t just say that i may need to wait a few years to find success..every day it seems that my mind is clearer and im starting to focus more. all of a sudden i’ve realized that i have always gone against the grain in every aspect of my life, but all of a sudden it feels ok.”

    Jay, let’s be realistic. You’ll have successes over the weeks and months but there’ll be slippage. You’ve built up a set of habits for several decades and no medication will simply undo them. What has happened is that the medication has given you a level of awareness and focus that you did not have before. It’s as if you were near-sighted your entire life and now that you have a pair of glasses, the entire world looks different. But, going with that analogy, it means that you need to reexamine everything because everything that was once blurry is now crystal clear and you now see things you just didn’t see before. Further, with each small success (and small setback), the bar will get raised. You’ll find that you’ll push yourself more and more. So, yes, there will be successes in the near-term, other successes a few  years out, and there’s a whole lot of life that you’ll find that you are really, really seeing for the first time. I’ve found it to be a sometimes frustrating but, most often, a fascinating journey. In a sense, you are seeing the world as a child sees the world, with everything new and bright and shiny but, unlike a child, you have years of knowledge and experience that you bring along with that “newness.” I hate to use the term because of its religious connotations but I think it’s the only way to describe it. It is as if you have been “born again.” – Jeff


    • Jay

      hi jeff,
      thank you for your encouraging words.after bouncing around from blog to blog im hopeful i’ve found a home. a lot of the info i have found is on different symptoms i have in common with others. like i knew i was a impulsive lier but the more i read, i discovered self-delusion (out of defense or survival). i also discovered that i don’t have any empathy for others or for situations. (when Jonestown in the ’70s waco, tx in the ’90s, w.t.c in 2001 or when both my parents died). its not that i have a cold heart or i turned off my feelings, i haven’t cried since i was a kid. i guess thats why EST and Actuilations  didn’t work in the ’ wife has had me going to church for the past 5 years and im at the end of my rope. i know the doctrine and principles but just can’t seem to feel it. plus im tired of my church telling me that the reason i feel this way is because i lean more on my doctors then on you said i’ve spent 45 years creating bad (survival) habits and i don’t want to waste another minute. i want answers now, i feel like im running out of time. thursday i see my doctor to see if they can find a psychologist  that specializes in adult adhd in my area (so cal.) and also see if they need to cutback on my meds. my newest problem is that now i’m tweeking 20 hrs a day. and now that i can start to follow a conversation and am hyper-focused (almost obsessive) have questions come into my head that people around me take either obstinate or argumentative. so again i feel alone.again im sorry for being all over the place,thanks for providing a place for newbies like me..jay    

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        “after bouncing around from blog to blog im hopeful i’ve found a home” – Glad I’m able to make you feel like, well, that you’ve found a home. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.

        Do keep in mind that, as I state in the video on the home page (you saw that, right? the one with the crash-test dummy?), that the Jeff who started this blog almost five years ago is not the same Jeff that is writing to you at this moment. I’ve changed an enormous amount over the past five years so there are things I’ve expressed in earlier posts that, well, I may not fully endorse at this time. Perhaps the biggest change is that I no longer see ADHD as a curse but, simply, an issue, a quirk, a glitch in the system. By accepting the diagnosis and then figuring out how to move on in life, it has made all the difference.

        • Jay

          thought i’d give you an update:
          went to my doc today to discuss what the next step we can do to dial in a treatment plan. im in the riverside mental health system and they can only offer med therapy. she told me to call a place called THE AMEN CLINIC IN SO CAL. THEY USE SPECT brain scans as part of their diagnostic tools.. (i googled them and all i found were pages of horror stories of what a scam this is)  so i called them and they said i could come in for a three day evaluation. the problem is they charge $3250.00 up front and they dont take insurance or charge on a sliding scale ( so that was depressing to find out only rich people can get help from them).
          next i called U.C.L.A.’s n.p.i to see if they had any adult adhd programs and they said only kids and teens.
          i’m still waiting to here from chadd and ill continue to look for help…

          • Jeffs ADD Mind

            Jay, thanks so much for the update. Keep on pounding away at “the system” and you’ll get the help/treatment/meds you need.

            While I don’t want to downplay the importance of Amen’s work, re: SPECT, don’t get too upset if you don’t get the brain scan. It’s not absolutely necessary for a diagnosis. (You might get a few laughs out of my review of a book that Amen hasn’t written but should. See: )

            I’d recommend that you check out Dr. Parker’s website (see: ) and you may want to contact him, re: treatment. He has a different methodology as opposed to using SPECT.

            Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local CHADD chapter again if you don’t hear from them in a timely manner.

            I have to say that you’ve been doing THE most important thing possible: you’re reaching out and getting information, REAL information.

            • Jay

              today i went to my first therapy session with my new state approved dr.i spent 3 hrs before going trying to get my thoughts together. while i was driving over i started getting scared, that i was going to overwhelm him with all the sh*t i need to unravel.
              i started to tell him my history:child and teen behavioral problems,years of self medicating with street drugs, being on bi-polar meds for 18 years and that i need someone who understands this diagnoses, that can unravel 45 years of bad habits and wrong decision skills and other medical history.
              he then begins to tell me about himself:he doesnt subscribe to med therapy or using  a d.s.m.IV.
              he doesnt want any records from my primary or psychiatrist. 
              so he says we are going to start by working on my impulse control (which ive never developed).
              i tell him that my new hobby is to be a troll(someone that enjoys antagonizing people by posting provocative subjects on facebook and sit back and watch as people misinterpret  and go off on rants) i know i shouldn’t but i cant stop.
              i feel disconnected from my wife (more then usual).also it feels like im seeing situations from an angle that nobody else can see.
              so he says the first thing we need to do is find a way to buffer me, to slow me down..deep breathing, take a walk etc.. (like i haven’t tried this).
              so i walk out of there with no new answers.
              i was like when you were a kid and you would go to your parents and ask them how do you spell(any word)? and they tell you to look it up in the dictionary. how do you look it up if you don’t know how to spell the word?(i know this probably happened to you too, lol).
              heres the best part: my insurance (calif medi-cal/medi-care)only covers 10 sessions. and i ask him “what happens if i need more sessions” and he says “well hopefully i will light a fire under you and then ill see you occasionally”. 
              and if i need to see after that? “well i charge $150.00hr”.
              so i left this guy underwhelmed!!!
              it was like going to my primary doctor for help with my heart instead of  going to my cardiologist, totally worthless.. 
              i don’t know if im going to go back next week.
              i think hes a general therapist with no real experience with late diagnosed adult adhd.
              so what do you think? was it like this for you 5 years ago when you got started?
              thanks for being here to listen.
              sorry i ran on and on
              still haven’t heard back from chadd about my membership.

              • Jeffs ADD Mind

                We’ll continue this discussion “off line.”

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  • markford

    Great subject. I was diagnosed in my 40s and my random thoughts always made me stand out. At least I have an explanation for it, although doesn’t help with the extreme loneliness. I’m lucky to have multiple addictions including alcoholism which seems to go hand and hand with this fucked up brain wiring. Anyone read this book, “You Are Not Your Brain?” I’ve found it somewhat helpful to help track my thoughts and do something about the negative ones. Glad this website is out there. The worst is to feel all alone.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      ADHD is truly a wonderful “gift,” ain’t it?

      Though it took me years to get to this point…and maybe you’re already there…but the most important thing you can do is accept the fact you have ADHD, acknowledge that it effs up everything, and then focus on minimizing its effects.

      “The worst is to feel all alone.” – Agreed!! If not for the power of the internet, many ADHDers would have gone through life never knowing that there were others just like us. It’s comforting, in a strange way, to know that you are not the only alternately-wired human out there.

      And welcome to the blog!

  • Nirtak

    I am quite sure to have ADHD and hope to be diagnosed in november.
    I am weird and all throughout childhood and puberty that caused problems for me as I am quite social and extroverted. I started to develop some features of social anxiety because I experienced a lot of rejection. Luckily in the last couple of years I met many people that were tolerant and just considered me some kind of charismatic, lovable freak. I slowly start to feel good in company again. I don’t care about people who can’t understand me any more and I really really appreciate those friends of mine that accept me the way I am.
    Nevertheless I still have comitment issues and I am not sure whether they are related to ADHD and/or the experiences I made because of it.

    • Nirtak

      And those aren’t just superficial friendships in some of them I can share my thoughts and feelings. They might not understand everything, I feel like the only one of my species in those times but, they don’t judge me and they try to help me most of the time. The do try to understand. And can “normal” people understand each other? I always wonder about that: Is it because of ADD or is it just human nature? Can “normal” people understand each other fully? Is their something like normal? Many of my friends have some disorder… depression, addiction, anxiety, asperger. I only know one or two persons who don’t have any abnormality. But then again I might just attract this kind of persons

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        It’s great to hear that you’ve developed some true relationships.

        “I am weird” – Many ADHDers can relate to this. ADHDers see the world differently, interact with it differently, hence…their “weirdness.”

        “Many of my friends have some disorder” – I always wondered about people who never had a need for psychiatric help. I could never understand how they can go through life without having to deal with some psychological issue.

  • Jesse

    I never really had trouble making friends at school (I am 22 now) But now I am not very social at all and I only really have 1 friend I often talk to (even at the moment I haven’t been lately though) always did pooly in school, except for sport and stuff. Never been in a decent length relationship. I just feel awkward around alot of people now. Have no idea what I want to do in life. I’m just working in a Target Warehouse and start of the new year the work will die down. I am a slow learner and appear to other people as a “no hoper” I am thinking of going on Stimulent medication like Ritalin as I was on it when I was 5 because I was very hyperactive and ragefull back then and Ritalin calmed me down. But now I’m not phyco anymore so Ritalin would give me a major advantage in the work place and help fix that imbalance in my brain. Aswell with behavioul therapy

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      It certainly sounds like you know what you need to do. Since you’ve already experienced life on stimulant medication, you also know about the benefits. Now it’s up to you to take that first step. Three years from now you’ll be very glad that you did.

      As I read your comment, I was reminded of this post, “Hiding in Plain Sight.” See:

  • Gforce27

    Interesting– I have ADHD, and while I didn’t have many friends in school, I somehow became the veritable life of the party as an adult, and I’ve known many other ADHDer’s who have also been the “let’s get this party started” masters, as well a being fun, spontaneous, empathetic, and loyal. I’ve had many, many amazing friends in my life. However–I’ve always run in with groups outside the norm: punks, hippies, raver’s, and other “alternative” subcultures. Those are FULL of ADHDer’s, and people with other problems, diagnosed and otherwise–so, in a world full of people actively rejecting the mainstream, I found a lot of acceptance

    However, that doesn’t stop me from being lonely. I’ve moved several times in the last few years, and I always deal with the fear that I won’t be accepted. That my “foibles” will mark me, and put other’s off. A few years ago, I lived on an Island full of other eccentric misfits and colorful characters. It was fantastic, because not only did I fit in, I was clearly not the most extreme case. Heck, I practically felt normal there. But the physical isolation and quietness of the Island in winter was to much for me, so we moved. I’ve been in our new town for 3 years, and I’ve had to go through the fear and worry of being judged and rejected. Breaking into the “Mommy” circles here in my new town has been a depressing and frustrating.

    Typical to the ADHD, I’m always chatting up the counter person at whatever store I’m in, not sensing the impatience of the person waiting behind me, or catching the cues from the cashier. I forget my wallet regularly, and I leave my groceries on the counter often. I once took a bag of consignment clothes to the local shop, and as the owner was going through my things, out came a pair of my underwear. I’m always getting, “Oh, you’re so funny…” Yeah. So funny I forgot to laugh.

    It’s enough to make me want to brave the long quiet winters on my island full of social misfits. God I miss them…

  • Gaby

    I have no friends, except one who lives far away, I even feel segregated with my family (meaning mom and dad), had just one boyfriend who I found on Internet…this is my life

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